According to Dr. Emmanuel Kwao Pecku, Tema Metropolitan Veterinary Officer, the Tema Metropolis reported two rabies cases in dogs in 2022, with no human infections.
Dr. Pecku stated that this is an increase from the single case reported in 2021, explaining that 450 canines were vaccinated against rabies in the Tema Metropolis the previous year, compared to 356 in 2021.
He also mentioned that 77 dog bite cases were recorded in 2022, compared to 85 in 2021.
In 2022, 198 dogs were seen in the municipality, compared to 222 in 2021, and his team was able to vaccinate 9,850 dogs, compared to 2,520 in 2021.
He encouraged dog owners to vaccinate their dogs against rabies to protect the animals, their families, and the community from the disease, which is fatal.
Dr. Pecku stated that canines were responsible for 99 percent of all human rabies cases, emphasizing the significance of responsible dog owners vaccinating their pets against rabies to break the chain of transmission.
Dr. Pecku, who is also the Kpone-Katamanso Municipal Veterinary Officer, stated in the weekly at “Your Health! Our Collective Responsibility,” A Ghana News Agency Tema Regional Office,” is an initiative aimed at promoting communication of health-related and setting the medium for the propagation of health information to influence personal health choices by improving health literacy.
The GNA-Tema Your Health! Our Collective Responsibility initiative also serves as a public health advocacy platform initiated to explore the parameters of the four approaches to health communication: informative, educating, persuasive, and prompting.
The Vet Officer observed that while controlling rabies in humans was expensive, preventing it with vaccines was much cheaper, stating that "post-exposure vaccine for those with dog bites can cost not less than GHs500.00 on the market, while it will cost you between GHs20.00 to GHC25.00 to vaccinate the dog and protect your family and the public."
He stated that because dogs are important to humans because they provide security and possibilities for employment, the public must recognize the significance of vaccinating them against rabies and the potential transmission to humans who could die if infected.
Dr. Pecku stated that despite being the most prevalent zoonosis (transmitted from animals to humans), it was underreported because most cases occurred in deprived communities where people could perish from it without resorting to health institutions.
He went on to say that Asia and Africa were the world's rabies hotspots, emphasizing the importance of reporting all dog bite cases to health facilities and veterinarian offices so that the necessary measures can be taken to help save lives.
When the virus enters the body, it multiplies quickly and attacks the nerves, brain, and other nervous tissues, he says, adding that it also enters the salivary glands, which means that transmission could occur when infected saliva from a canine or animal comes into touch with an open wound on a person.
Among the clinical manifestations of the virus, he noted, were sudden changes in behaviour, aggression, and calmness in some.